A bitter fight waged in the public schools is nothing less than a battle over core values.

America’s culture wars have landed in our schools. This time the issue is not whether students are allowed to pray or hold Bible studies, but what we should teach them about sex. In this age of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, the stakes are high. Below, journalist Andres Tapia profiles the many Christians involved in this latest battle. On our editorial page (p. 22), sociologist and popular author Tony Campolo shows how Christians can show their support for these efforts and how we can help our teenagers to be moral and stay alive.

“Sex is supposed to be about fun, pleasure, family, and babies—not about disease and death.”

Pat Socia, a sex-education consultant from Texas, has captured the attention of 400 students and their parents at Downers Grove North High School in suburban Chicago. During the next hour and a half, she gives a compelling and disturbing presentation of how perilous it can be as a teenager in the age of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), AIDS, and drugs. Hers is also an inspiring presentation, whose core message—no sex until marriage—many consider a lifesaver.

Others, however, are alarmed. They feel the abstinence message of Socia and others like her is, at best, naive and, at worst, the intrusion of a political and religious agenda that must be silenced in our public schools.

The volatile debate taking place in public schools throughout the country is nothing less than a battle over core values. Is sex before marriage healthy or immoral? One view, the religious and moral, is rooted in the belief in a Higher Authority who has revealed what is right and wrong. The other view, a naturalistic and humanistic one, ...

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